NGSA Tries to Calm Regulator Concerns Over Gas Prices

While gas prices remain camped out at record levels, R. Skip Horvath, president of the Natural Gas Supply Association (NGSA), urged state regulators yesterday to be patient until the record number of gas rigs operating can do their work and provide desperately needed supply increases.

"Natural gas producers are doing everything we can to increase our production and bring more natural gas to market," Horvath told the 112th Annual Meeting of the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners (NARUC) in San Diego. "We are confident that natural gas supply will meet the winter market demand, and that the pipelines and distributors will get the gas to customers.

"We have a record number of rigs drilling new natural gas wells, and today we have more gas in storage than we needed during the cold winter of 1995-1996," he added. "Although supplies are tight, the market is working."

Speaking on a panel titled "Are Rough Seas Ahead for Natural Gas Consumers," Horvath urged regulatory restraint. "Government intervention in the form of price caps will only harm consumers by creating the very gas shortage we all seek to avoid." Patience is needed, he said, while producers respond to record high prices, "a process which can take anywhere from 3 to 18 months."

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